Players and fans alike spent time reminiscing about Alex Smith's 16-year NFL career after he announced his retirement on Monday, but no one had a better — or more embarrassing — story than Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick learned about Smith's retirement while he was recording the "Green Light" podcast with retired defensive end Chris Long. Their conversation quickly switched to Smith, and Fitzpatrick had nothing but wonderful things to say about him.
"Everywhere he went, he made the team better," Fitzpatrick said about Smith, his fellow 2005 draftee.
Then Fitz revealed what he called "one of my biggest regrets to date." He sent Smith a text following his catastrophic leg injury in 2018, and called it "the single worst text I've ever sent."
"When Alex broke his leg in that game a few years ago, I had what I thought was a similar injury: I fractured my tibia in 2014 with the Houston Texans," Fitzpatrick said. "So the single worst text I've ever sent out, I sent it to Alex. I said 'Hey, Alex, just want to let you know they'll fix you right up, you'll be good as new. I'm out here and I don't feel any pain from my injury three years later.'
"And I sent it and felt good about it, and he said, 'Well, mine might be a little more complicated.' And 17 surgeries later, and the story of what he had to overcome, I felt like the biggest a**hole."
That response from Smith is incredible. It was such a kind and diplomatic thing to say while he was dealing with a gruesome leg injury that could have ended his career.
Fitz wrapped up his story by sending more love to Smith for his incredible comeback in 2020, which made him feel considerably better about sending that text.
"What he did last year, it was incredible for him to get back on the field, and I was very happy after sending that text that he didn't lose his leg."
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